Central Auditory Processing Assessment in North Carolina

Central auditory processing is how your brain responds to what your ears hear. Children who have difficulty with auditory processing usually have normal hearing, but have difficulty in certain situations:

  • They may understand speech in quiet, but have trouble understanding speech clearly if there is background noise. 
  • They may have difficulty with short-term auditory memory and cannot remember something heard, such as a verbal series of instructions
  • They cannot process information quickly and can understand better if the speaker slows down and speaks in shorter sentences

Signs of Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Possible signs of central auditory processing disorder in school age children are:

  • Frequently asking for words to be repeated
  • Difficulty following multi-step verbal directions (usually single directions are followed well)
  • Difficulty understanding well in background noise
  • Difficulty with reading (phonics and/or reading comprehension)
  • Problems with auditory memory (remembering a sequence such as a phone number or series of verbal directions)
  • In school, children may be at grade level in some subjects but not others. The problem is usually with reading/language areas.
  • Children seem to learn better in one-on-one situations than in large groups (because it tends to be quieter, the speaker can go at the child's pace and repeat if necessary)
  • Children may not understand jokes, especially puns, since they tend to be very literal in their interpretation of language

Evaluating Central Auditory Processing Disorder

We can perform central auditory processing evaluations on children age 6 and over. The appointment lasts approximately two hours, and the audiologist gives parents test results and suggestions for exercise that might be helpful in the classroom. 

If a central auditory processing disorder is diagnosed, we usually refer the child for further testing to a speech-language pathologist, who determines if remedial therapy is recommended. We have speech-language pathologists at Brenner Children's Hospital, or sometimes therapy be performed by the child's school speech therapist. 

The testing is designed for children with low to average cognitive abilities, so if another disability (such as overall cognitive delay) is suspected, it should be evaluated first. Children can have a central auditory processing disorder in combination with other disabilities, such as a learning disability or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD). If a child is diagnosed with ADHD and takes medication, we want the child to be on the medication for the testing. 

Recommended websites with information on central auditory processing:

Quick Reference